Commercial geoduck harvest opens in South Puget Sound October 21

Photo of a geoduck harvest boat.
Commercial geoduck harvest dive boat. Photo: DNR

The next harvest period for state-managed commercial wildstock geoducks begins this Monday. From October 21 through December 30, harvests will take place in select “tracts” in the South Puget Sound harvest region. If you are on or near the water in these areas, you may wonder what’s up. Here’s the scoop:

What tracts are open this harvest period?

Lisabeula Tract #09450, Colvos Passage, King county. (October 21 – December 5)
Itsami Tract #16300, North of Dickensen Point, Thurston county. (October 21 – December 30)
Wycoff Shoal Tract #12300, between the Northwest side of McNeil Island and the Key Peninsula, Pierce county. (December 9 – 30)
Anderson Island South Tract #13350,  Southwest shore of Anderson Island, Pierce county. (November 18 – 30)

How are wildstock geoducks harvested?
Divers use hand-operated water jets to loosen the sediment around a geoduck and remove them by hand from state-owned aquatic lands. Harvests take place in sub-tidal areas between minus 18 and minus 70 feet.

What times are harvesters allowed to operate?
Wildstock geoduck harvest hours are weekdays only, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Harvesting is not allowed on weekends or state holidays.

How do I recognize a bonafide commercial geoduck harvest boat?

Photo of dive flags.
Official dive flags. Top flag is “diver down” and the lower flag is the “alpha” flag. Photo: DNR

Commercial vessels will have numbers in block letters affixed to the side of the wheelhouse or flying bridge. In addition, vessels will fly a diver-down flag or alpha flag.

What about tribal geoduck harvesting?
Tribal geoduck harvests operate on a different schedule from DNR commercial harvests. Puget Sound Treaty Tribes have a 50/50 share in the harvest. Tribal harvest may occur on the same DNR tracts as well as on tracts specifically identified for tribal harvests. Tribal harvest can also occur on weekends and holidays. You may see tribal enforcement boats or DNR compliance vessels on scene during harvest operations.

What if I suspect illegal geoduck harvest activity?

Photo of a geoduck compliance vessel
DNR geoduck compliance vessel. Photo: DNR

If you see harvest activity taking place outside of the hours of operation or in areas not identified as geoduck tracts for this harvest period and you don’t think it’s a tribal fishery, please report this activity. More information about reporting suspected poaching is on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website.

What happens to revenue from geoducks?
The state sells the right to harvest wildstock native geoducks at public auctions several times a year. Revenue generated from these auctions benefits the state of Washington in a number of ways. Half of the revenue goes into the Aquatic Lands Enhancement Account (ALEA) to develop public access to state-owned aquatic lands and to restore native aquatic habitat. The other half of the revenue generated pays for management and protection of these lands. From 2006-2012, annual geoduck revenues averaged $18 million for the state of Washington.

More detailed information about quotas and harvest ceilings (the maximum amount of pounds that can be removed) are in the invitation to bid packet.

Learn more about DNR’s Wildstock Geoduck Program.

For more information about DNR’s Wildstock Geoduck Program, contact Todd Palzer at 360-902-1864.